Seen at Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh. Touring throughout Scotland until Sat 6 Dec
‘Biggest load of crap I’ve seen in my life …’ muttered one punter, padding past me halfway through the show. He wasn’t the only early departures from the Brunton Theatre, yet I couldn’t help feeling that a harsh judgement had been made. While Fish and Game’s peculiar, fringe revue-style burlesque of Grassic Gibbons’ Sunset Song, topped and tailed by semi-related sketches, seems desperately disjointed in places, there’s a certain endearing comic energy to its performances, including a series of meta-theatrical turns, where scenes are done as ceilidhs and discos, and interrupted by debates about the quality of the actors’ accents.
The problem is not a lack of vigour, but of anything coherent to say, with the result that the piece comes across as an un-thought-through outburst of undergraduate energy. Early on, two sternly Presbyterian preachers rail against individualism and consumerism, perhaps to lampoon the morals of modern society, while the recurrent theme of apocalypse is presumably there to remind us that we might as well indulge in the hedonism condemned. But one can’t help but feel that the time for Bacchanalian excess might have passed, and that Robert Walton’s production atop Claire Halloran’s kitsch tartan dancefloor has misjudged the mood of the moment.